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Gray’s Anatomy

By Linda Tancs

You never know where fossils of the Early Pliocene Epoch will turn up. That’s surely how workers in the eastern Tennessee town of Gray felt when they unearthed fossils in 2000 during a road construction project. The only known fossil site of its age in the Appalachian region, it preserves the remains of an ancient sinkhole pond that existed around 5 million years ago, revealing tapirs, rhinos, alligators, mastodons and more. And the dig is far from over. More than 25,000 fossils have been catalogued from the site, including several extinct species that are new to science. Learn more at Gray Fossil Site & Museum, which is built around this amazing discovery.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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